Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Wondering what the correct word to use for a person who is being followed. All I can think of is a followee, which doesn't seem correct. It's being used in a twitter like system of followers and people being followed (followees).

share|improve this question
1  
do you mean followed surreptitiously (the person being followed isn't aware of it) or everyone knows and is aware of the following? –  Mitch May 2 '11 at 16:58
9  
I think leader or quarry, depending on context –  snumpy May 2 '11 at 17:22
    
I've a very similar question for fan –  Wes May 2 '11 at 19:57
1  
@snumpy: quarry is good enough to put in an answer. –  hippietrail May 25 '11 at 0:27

8 Answers 8

up vote 11 down vote accepted

According to this source here, the standard word is subject. Since Siljander wrote the book on the topic, presumably he would know.

share|improve this answer
    
+1. I laughed at first, but it does seem appropriate. –  Matthew Read May 2 '11 at 16:59

I immediately thought of cloak-and-dagger spycraft, where the person being followed would be the mark.

share|improve this answer

Generally, the word would be leader. Twitter certainly complicates things though; I'm not sure that word really applies. Follower isn't really the same meaning in that context either, so it's hard to say what should be used. Perhaps another word should be (mis)appropriated.

share|improve this answer
    
I will give you an upvote as it would apply in most situations, just but not in mine. –  MitMaro May 2 '11 at 17:51
1  
Leaders definitely lead followers but you don't have to be leading to have somebody follow you, think of stalkers or spies or paparazzi. –  hippietrail May 25 '11 at 0:26
    
@hippietrail Yep, I hadn't thought of that context. The other answers covered it so I left mine. –  Matthew Read May 25 '11 at 1:02

There is a clear need for such a term when describing what people do on Twitter, so that there is a symmetrical term to follower. Without it sentences are stilted and table headings a nightmare (as I'm finding). If you search for 'followee' on Twitter you will find that this word is already being used to describe a person that you follow. Initially it sounds anachronistic but usage soon makes it seem natural.

share|improve this answer

Someone who is following is a follower. Someone who is being followed, is the followed.

share|improve this answer
    
I realize that "the followed" isn't a single word. But, I think it conveys the idea you're going for. (The followers, and the followed). –  MikeVaughan May 2 '11 at 16:56
    
That's great for an object ("Someone who is being followed is the followed") but what about a subject? "The followed tweeted to his followers" sounds very weird. (I agree with the below that "subject" is likely best for the subjective form, oddly enough; yay comment-editing). –  Matthew Read May 2 '11 at 16:58
2  
Absolutely. I hadn't considered that usage, maybe Brian Hooper's answer is the best fit? "The subject tweeted to his followers." –  MikeVaughan May 2 '11 at 17:00

Followee. "Squee, Justin Bieber is my followee!"

share|improve this answer

Well, you might try stalkee for someone who is being followed, given how the term stalker can now apply to Internet things like this.

share|improve this answer

This might be a good chance to popularize the neologism, memesta:

memesta - A digital gangsta who has a specific goal of spreading or popularizing a new unit of cultural information, and does so through a planned and concerted effort.

Meme becomes a more significant term for the info-saturation age based on how agile and fanned-out our new ways of "telling" are. Write about a meme on a popular blogging aggregate website and a potentially huge audience receives it. This may usher in the day of the memesta, a digital gangsta of ideas.

share|improve this answer

protected by RegDwigнt May 25 '11 at 12:54

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.